No, I'm not talking about Iraq, though it is certainly connected. We've allowed our country to be taken over by neocons and given away bit by bit to various foreign companies buying up America, thanks to NAFTA, CAFTA and the various corporation-favored trade laws -- and now we have to reclaim America from the corporatists, and give it back to ALL of us, an America of everyone created equal, an America of possibilities, an America of "We, the People".
Maybe we never fully had the American dream -- hey we're talking dream, vision, but to be sure, we middle class working Americans certainly do NOT have true access to it now. The only people making out in Bush's economy are the top 1%, especially the top .1 of that 1%. Many of the rest of us are the children looking in the toy store window. We're losing ground each year when our employers give raises with one hand and then raise our health care costs over and above what they just gave us with the other. We're the only one of the 37 (38?) industrialized nations who doesn't have some form of national healthcare and 48 million Americans have no insurance while the head of United Healthcare makes 1.6 billion in one year and the American pharmaceutical companies make out like bandits. Nope, it is an American Made Mess initiated by Ronald Reagan and perpetuated by the Bush-Clinton dynasties. It has got to stop -- we have to demand that it stop -- and we have to do our part to make it stop.
I went Christmas shopping, first for cards, and found boxed cards made by American Greetings Company of Cleveland which were made in China. I called up their consumer line and the representative denied it, saying very few of their products were made there, a few specific medallions (?) she mentioned. I began to doubt myself and told her that I would re-check. I went back to the Rite Aid store and sure enough: China. Mind you, at the same time I noted that their individual shelf cards were made in America. (I will endeavor to buy more of those.) And a friend mailed me one of their holiday cards this year which was made domestically (when?). But I must let them know my feelings and you should, too. American Greetings Corporation, One American Road, Cleveland, Ohio 44144-2398, 216-252-7300, Fax: 216-252-6778, Customer Service: 800-777-4891.
Then I went out to buy some games as gifts and again it was more of the same, American companies making their items in CHINA -- or Vietnam, et cetera, but not much in America. And it isn't like a lot of these products have had their prices reduced either. No. It is demonstration of corporate greed, allowed because of American trade policies not protecting the American market place, not protecting American jobs. Yet they claim the name America and use the flag -- see the picture of a gift someone gave me last year, kitchen items from the American Mills -- in China.
Further action: Note where something is made and try to buy more American, to give Americans jobs. We all want French wine or perfume, or an Irish sweater sometimes, fine -- but let's endeavor to buy some good California (or Ohio :-) wine at other times, buy American jewelry, and buy the American cards made by people making good wages. We've got a big trade deficit. If they can't buy stuff made in America, foreign countries will use the dollars we give them to buy America. (Maybe that would be what we deserve -- but no, it would be the little guy suffering.) Talk to our friends and families about this issue. We need to be part of a world community, yes, but not at the expense of turning America into a plutocracy. Let's also check out such sites as BuyAmerican.com.
Thank God for a little respite from corporate America and peace and justice activism recently: a visit to the Brooklyn Museum, where I saw my favorite little gargoyle through a stairwell window (I took his picture earlier in the year amidst spring blossoms). I posted other pictures taken that day at my Flickr.com site. Make time for art, music and fun. This, too, helps bring peace to our hearts and thus to the world.